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Sporophila: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe

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Are you interested to know more about birds like the rock sparrow? If yes, then you should check out the genus Sporophila as it is made up of similar birds belonging to the phylum Chordata and order Passeriformes. These birds mainly live in the neotropics that includes areas in middle and South America including Mexico, Brazil, Argentina among others. When you first view the male of this species, you are bound to find it extremely beautiful. Compared to the males, the females look a bit dull and pale. The common natural habitat includes grasslands and savannahs, where the birds can have endless access to seeds.

There are around 41 species of these birds present in the Sporophila genus coming in the variants of seedeaters and seed finches. When it comes to the population, the birds are all over the place including Least Concern, Near Threatened and a species like the hooded seedeater (Sporophila melanops) is thought to be extinct. So, keep reading to know more Sporophila facts.

Also, check out the articles on zigzag heron and willie wagtail to know more about birds of the world.

Sporophila Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sporophila?

The Sporophila is a genus containing around 41 species of bird that live in the neotropics. It commonly includes birds like the seedeaters and the seed finches.

What class of animal does a Sporophila belong to?

The scientific classification of this genus is kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, and family Thraupidae. Even lark sparrows belong to the same order.

How many Sporophilas are there in the world?

We cannot possibly know the exact population of the several species of birds present in the Sporophila genus. However, some species of birds are seeing a decline in population like seen in the chestnut seedeater (Sporophila cinnamomea) that currently has the classification of being a vulnerable species.

Where does a Sporophila live?

When it comes to the physical range of the Sporophila bird genus, it belongs to the neotropical region that includes Middle America and South America. This region is regarded as one of the most abundant in species in nature, and it enjoys a tropical climate. The chestnut seedeater (Sporophila cinnamomea) is found in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. While, the variable seedeater (Sporophila corvina) is found in Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, Ecuador, and Peru. On the other hand, the rufous-rumped seedeater (Sporophila hypochroma) lives in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, while it migrates to regions of Brazil, and Pantanal. The wing-barred seedeater (Sporophila Americana) has one of the widespread regions which includes places in northeastern South America like Venezuela, Tobago, the Guianas, Amapá, northeastern Pará, and Brazil.

What is a Sporophila's habitat?

The common natural habitats noted in the birds of this genus include tropical and subtropical grassland, savannas, shrublands, pastures, flooded lowlands, and even forest areas. The grassland tends to be a popular choice as it gives the birds access to grass seeds.

Who does Sporophila live with?

Some species of sporophila are said to live in pairs while others prefer to live in flocks. But, the species that migrate usually does so in groups.

How long does a Sporophila live?

There's no specific average lifespan of the genus, but the white-collared seedeater (Sporophila torqueola) is said to live for twelve years. But, this can greatly vary based on factors like mortality rate and nest predation.

How do they reproduce?

We are yet to get significant data about the breeding of this bird, but it definitely changes according to the region. Some birds also have non-breeding and breeding locations. These birds tend to be monogamous in nature, and it has been specially found in the ruddy-breasted seedeater (Sporophila minuta) species. The female bird lays around two to three eggs per clutch. Moreover, juveniles look quite similar to the female bird, while the adult males are very colorful. But, some species have males that look female-like.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status and classification greatly vary based on the different species. Birds like the yellow-bellied seedeater are commonly found and have been placed under the classification of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is also true for the variable seedeater (Sporophila corvina) Red List classification. On the other hand, species like the dark-throated seedeater (Sporophila ruficollis) found in Brazil have the classification of Near Threatened. The rufous-rumped seedeater (Sporophila hypochroma) is another Near Threatened species.

Sporophila Fun Facts

What does the Sporophila look like?

When it comes to the appearance of the birds present in this genus, it can definitely differ based a lot. While the chestnut seedeater (Sporophila cinnamomea) male from Brazil and Paraguay is covered in chestnut red feathers on its throat and belly while the female has olive and white feathers. In comparison, the variable seedeater (Sporophila corvina) male is mostly covered in black feathers. The common factor is the fat conical bill that helps in eating seeds. However, the large-billed seed finch has a longer bill.

Sporophila facts help to know about new species of bird.

How cute are they?

Just like the golden-crowned sparrow, there are several cute species in this genus. The wing-barred seedeater (Sporophila americana) especially stands out because of the black feathers present on its back which is contrasted with the white feathers on the throat and belly.

How do they communicate?

Like other birds in the world, the species from the Sporophila genus also communicate with the help of calls. The ruddy-breasted seedeaters are especially known for the beautiful 'see-seeur tee-te-e-e-e, seeeeur tse-e-e-e-e' song. While the lesson's seedeater bird is known for a melodious 'chaw, chee childedee-chea-chea-chea' song.

How big is a Sporophila?

Even though these birds are regarded as small, we cannot really place them in a single range. However, when looking at the birds individually, the wing-barred seedeater (Sporophila americana) has an average body length of 4.5 in (11 cm), while the ruddy-breasted seedeater gains an average length of 3.3-3.7 in (8·6-9·6 cm). Compared to the small size of this bird species, another related Passeriformes like the savannah sparrow have an average length of 4.3-6.7 in (11-15 cm), making it only slightly bigger.

How fast can a Sporophila move?

We don't know the exact speed shared by the birds present in this classification. However, these birds can surely pick up a good speed, especially when migrating between places.

How much does a Sporophila weigh?

As there are several species in this genus, we cannot really put down the exact weight seen among all the birds. However, the common weight seen in the variable seedeater is around 0.3 oz (11 g). While for the ruddy-breasted seedeater the number is around 0.2-0.3 oz (7-9 g). They weigh almost one-third of a rock sparrow.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no special names for the male and the female birds belonging to this genus.

What would you call a baby Sporophila?

A baby Sporophila would be called a chick.

What do they eat?

Birds from this species enjoy seeds. These birds inhabit grasslands where there is an abundance of seeds. Along with that most species will also munch on unripe seeds from fruits and berries. Along with a belly full of seeds, the birds also at times will feed on insects and arthropods. However, the diet of a species may vary related to its habitat and place of origin.

Are they dangerous?

Not really! These are really small birds and because of their size, the birds do lack the ability to hurt any humans.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these birds are wild animals that are meant to live free in the world. Hence, you can't take any of the species as your pet.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Jean Cabanis, a German ornithologist was the one to term the genus Sporophila. The name is derived from two Ancient Greek words 'sporos', which in English means seeds and 'philos' which means loving.

The taxonomy of the variable seedeater (Sporophila corvina) is still a scientific debate as it's usually thought to be a subspecies of the Sporophila americana.

What birds come under the genus Sporophila?

There are a lot of birds that come under the genus Sporophila. To begin with, most of the birds in the genus are seedeaters. Other than that, six seed finches were also added to the mix. So, some of the common seedeaters include the cinnamon-rumped seedeater (Sporophila torqueola), the wing-barred seedeater (Sporophila americana), the black-bellied seedeater (Sporophila melanogaster), the rufous-rumped seedeater (Sporophila hypochroma), chestnut seedeater (Sporophila cinnamomea), slate-colored seedeater (Sporophila schistacea), and so on. The seed finches present in the genus include the thick-billed seed finch (Sporophila funerea), the Chestnut-bellied seed finch (Sporophila angolensis), the Nicaraguan seed finch (Sporophila nuttingi), the great-billed seed finch (Sporophila maximiliani), the large-billed seed finch (Sporophila crassirostris), and the black-billed seed finch (Sporophila atrirostris). Apart from this list, from 2012, even the Ibera seedeater (Sporophila iberaensis) is included with the other seedeaters, but it is still debated.

What is a distinguishing feature of Sporophilas?

Apart from the bird's shared love for seeds, the species in the genus Sporophila is distinguished by the stubby and conical bills present to help in eating the seeds. Otherwise, a common trait seen among the birds is sexual dimorphism, where adult males look starkly different from adult females. Moreover, some of the females are also known to have ultraviolet colors on its body that can be seen by other species of birds, and humans can't see them unless a special light is used.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these yellow-throated sparrow facts and striated pardalote facts for kids.

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